MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — At the base of Harmon Killebrew’s bronze statue on Target plaza, a bed of colorful pansies is freshly planted. The Target Field grounds crew was hard at work Tuesday, touching up a make-shift memorial to a fallen Twins legend.
Killebrew died Tuesday morning at the age of 74 following a battle with esophageal cancer.
Jeremiah Peterson said Tuesday he was doing his par.
“People have been putting flowers out here all week so we’ve been tending to that as much as we can,” Peterson said.
Up and down the plaza fans are stopping by to pay tribute. Melanie Meidl was too young to have cheered Killebrew on, but his impact on fans isn’t lost on youth.
“It’s just really sad, seems to have happened really quickly after the announcement last week he was going into hospice,” Meidl said.
Chances are pretty good that if you’re under the age of 45, you never had the joy of watching Harmon swinging the bat or rounding the bases. But long-time Twins fan Bob Wolf remembers him well.
“He had a wonderful bat, he hit some towering homeruns that guy,” Wolf said.
Since 1961, Killebrew was the face of the Twins’ franchise. It was a title and honor he kept long after Harmon left the game.
“I just really appreciate what he did for baseball,” Meidl said.
Four days after announcing he was leaving the hospital in Arizona and entering hospice, hopeful prayers were replaced by a sense of somberness. The biggest Minnesota Twin of all leaves behind a gentle legacy of kindness and humility. And in the memories of Twins fans young and old, forever a penchant for hitting balls out of the park.
Zach Bares is too young to have ever seen Killebrew hit a home run. Still, he’s heard the stories from his father of what No. 3 will always mean to the team.
“I know that he was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. He hit 573 homeruns in his career for the Twins and will always be remembered as a great home run hitter,” Bares said.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Susie Jones also talked with fans mourning Killebrew’s death